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Small Wonders: Are your kids as smart as his?

September 30, 2011|By Patrick Caneday

I have the smartest daughters in the world.

I know this not because Thing 1 and Thing 2 have perfect grades (though they scored very well on last year’s standardized tests). I know this not because their teachers send home notes detailing their exploits and benevolence (though Thing 2 did lend a lunchless kid a dollar the other day). I know this not because the Nobel Prize committee announced it (though a source tells me they are short-listed).

And most importantly, lest you accuse me of nepotism, I know this not because I am their father and adore them with the searing intensity of a million suns.

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I know this because they told me so.

My daughters, and perhaps your children, know everything. They tell me so a hundred times each day. The subject doesn’t matter. They know.

Me: It’s time to brush your teeth.

Thing 1: I know.

Me: It’s your turn to feed the dogs.

Thing 2: I know.

Me: Please go make your bed.

Them: We know!

If the first response out of their mouths to everything I ask or say is true, apparently there is nothing my 8- and 10-year-old daughters don’t already know. I’ve often wondered if my offspring were somehow gifted not only with unlimited intelligence, but also psychic skills rivaling those of Nostradamus.

Me: Keep your fingers out of the way when closing your pocket knife, and you won’t get cut like that.

Thing 1: I know.

Me: It’s going to be cold today. You may want to take a sweater to school.

Thing 2: I know.

Me: Eric Stoltz was originally cast to play Marty McFly in “Back to the Future,” but was replaced by Michael J. Fox after four weeks of shooting because....

Them: We know, Dad!

Even when I find myself in the position of having to correct them — were it possible to correct the smartest children on the planet — they still know the right answer.

Me: It is never OK to head-butt your sister.

Thing 1: I know.

Me: On question seven of your math homework, the correct answer is the difference between 325 and 147. Not the sum.

Thing 2: I know.

Me: …and that’s why you can’t swing from the ceiling fan!

Them: We know!

Why do they do this? Why do children insist they know when the evidence usually says otherwise?

Is it an attempt to capture just that much more independence? To establish a clearer boundary between parent and growing child?

Is it a fear of admitting that they don’t have everything in their embryonic world in perfect control?

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